Hugh Jackman wanted to adopt in Asia or Africa, but couldn’t

hugh jackman hand print ceremony 210409

Hugh Jackman is speaking publicly about his family – specifically, the adoption of daughter Ava and son Oscar, through American adoption agencies. Hugh claims that in his native Australia, adoption laws and regulations are “too restrictive”, almost as if Australian agencies are trying to discourage adoption from Asia or Africa. Perhaps Hugh and wife Deborra-Lee should become American citizens, then try adopting from Asia or Africa – America seems to have a system that works pretty well. Or at least better than Australia’s system.

Hugh also defends Madonna’s attempted adoption of Mercy James, saying that he’s sure Madonna was coming from “a good place”. I’m not so sure, but I love that Hugh tries to defend Madonna – such a gentleman. Hugh also basically says that people who claim any celebrity is adopting for publicity is crazy.

HUGH Jackman has sent a message of support to Madonna after her failed bid to adopt a Malawian orphan while bitterly attacking Australia’s adoption laws.

The Aussie movie star and his wife, Deborra-Lee, have two kids who they adopted as babies from America – Oscar, eight, and three-year-old Ava.

But, like Madonna, their hopes of giving a home to a Third World child were crushed by rules that made it virtually impossible to adopt from Africa or Asia.

Speaking exclusively Britain’s The Sun, Hugh – who hit cinema screens this week as razor-clawed X-Men character Wolverine – said: “The adoption laws in Australia are too restrictive. Of course, checks need to be made. But they had a very negative approach.”

“It was like they were trying to discourage you. There are 130 million orphans in the world – who is looking after them? If you are a citizen of the world, on some level they are all our responsibility.”

“And if you have got parents who want to adopt and there are children who need a home, it seems like a no-brainer.”

“There are not that many children in Australia who need adopting, so we looked internationally and that is what is difficult.”

The couple turned to adoption after actress Deborra-Lee, 53, suffered repeat miscarriages.

But they insist they would have done it regardless.

Hugh, 40, said: “We tried and it just didn’t happen for us. There was no particular medical reason.”

“We had a few miscarriages, which was very upsetting. But we always planned on adopting anyway, even if we had our own biological children.”

He said he could understand Madonna’s desire to add to her brood – Lourdes, 12, Rocco, eight, and three-year-old David Banda, who she adopted from Malawi in 2006.

And he is sickened by cynics who applauded an African judge’s decision to reject her bid to become mum to baby girl Mercy James earlier this month.

Hugh said: “I challenge anyone who thinks you adopt a kid for a publicity stunt. Anyone parent knows that would have to be the most intensive publicity stunt in the world. I am sure she is coming from a good place.”

[From Australia’s Daily Telegraph]

That’s sad that Deborra-Lee had miscarriages – I had never heard that. Poor Deborra-Lee. I’ve also never heard that Australia has such a difficult adoption system. If Hugh Jackman, one of Australia’s best exports, can’t get the system to work for him, there’s something wrong. It sucks – I’m sure there are so many Australian families who would like to adopt abroad, but can’t because of the restrictions.

Here’s are Hugh and Deborah-Lee with Ava and Oscar at his handprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on April 21st. Images thanks to .

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24 Responses to “Hugh Jackman wanted to adopt in Asia or Africa, but couldn’t”

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  1. staramou says:

    Doesn’t the daughter look just like the mom! I’m adopted & people tell me I look just like my mom, too, so I thought that picture was so sweet!

  2. Dolkite says:

    Yea, since there are no kids that need to be adopted in Australia…what is it with these people and adopting from exotic locales? Is it because these countries are so ass-out that it makes these super-rich movie stars look like saviors?

  3. becca says:

    I think it’s sweet that Hugh is defending the Angelinas and the Madonnas out there…but must respectfully disagree with him.

    I think a few (not all, and certainly NOT Hugh Jackman) celebs that adopt from Africa and Asia are partly doing for the right reasons, partly doing it for the attention,partly doing it to look like there’s a halo over their heads, and partly doing it because the idealistic concept attracts them.

  4. Samantha says:

    “Yea, since there are no kids that need to be adopted in Australia…what is it with these people and adopting from exotic locales? Is it because these countries are so ass-out that it makes these super-rich movie stars look like saviors?”

    Maybe because they realize that a child in the system in Australia doesn’t have to worry about being fed every day, doesn’t have to worry about being clothed, will still go to school, etc etc. Maybe some do, I can’t speak for all people who adopt outside of their native country. But please at least keep in mind that even some of the poorest children in America and Australia still don’t have it half as bad as the poorest children in say Africa. And regardless of where the child is adopted from, can’t people just be happy that there is now one less orphan in the world? Why, of all things to criticize, do you choose the one thing that really is a win-win situation for all parties involved in the end? I don’t understand this need to make everything in the entire world suck, but that is a place I don’t want to live.

  5. Embee says:

    staramou that’s exactly what I was thinking! And little Oscar has a bit of the “Hugh” look to him as well! Love, love, love how adopted kids DO often look like their parents.

  6. geronimo says:

    Love the pics. His wife is gorgeous, as are the kiddies!

  7. KateNonymous says:

    Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness gave a family and home to two children who had neither. Does it really matter where the children came from originally? That’s still two fewer homeless children in the world.

    And while I think Madonna is all kinds of messed up, she seems to be a loving mother who is involved in her children’s lives. The questions I have about her adoptions have much more to do with process than with her motives.

    BTW, I love the face that their daughter is making in the top photo. That’s the kind of expression that is adorable at that age, but would look ridiculous if I tried it!

  8. Annie says:

    People love to criticize the goodness in others because of all the darkness in themselves. 🙂

    Hate what you are not. It’s the way of the world.

  9. rbsesq says:

    Kaiser – Hugh and Deborra do have US citizenship, which is how they adopted their children.

  10. czarina says:

    My husband has been to Sudan in Africa on a UN tour and he told me about the town/villiage he stayed in…there were thousands of orphans who basically lived in the street, eating garbage, living in filth. There was only one orphanage to take children that had been there for years (set up by Catholic nuns), but they only had 700 beds, not nearly enough.
    Maybe some people do not realize the way some of these children actually live. I saw pictures (not set up media pics but ones my husband took) and it broke my heart.
    I don’t care if a celeb adopts for publicity–as long as any one of these many, many children are able to escape a life of starvation and sickness, neglect and isolation.
    I admire Hugh Jackman for speaking up, for criticizing what is obvious–that suggesting that a child should starve and die of illness (ones that can easily be cured by medicine that is so commonplace we take it for granted, but that they have no access to) rather than go to a “single parent” or in Madonna’s case, someone a judge doesn’t admire (for likely political reasons) is insane.

  11. Zoe (The Other One) says:

    I love this family – beautiful inside and out. What great role models…unlike other adoptive families we could mention. I really like his ‘citizen of the world’ comment – it sounds sincere and thought through rather than just saying something because it’s the ‘right’ thing to say.

  12. dubdub2000 says:

    This subject is always touchy for a variety of reasons. Hugh Jackman has extensively spoken of his and his wife’s woes in baring children and adopting. They went through a private adoption agency to adopt not children, but NEW BORNS. I want to insist on that because it is notoriously near impossible to find babies, let alone new borns to adopt (except if you are a hollywood celebrity and have millions of dollars), and that is why people are always harping on and on about how impossible it is to adopt. They forget to mention is that is impossible to adop babies there are however loads of toddlers and older children who need a house just as much, but not many people are interested. Furthermore,the problem with adopting from third world countries has been highlighted with the Angelina and Madonna cases: often times, the children in orphanages ARE NOT orphans!! Biological parents and or aunts, uncles and what have you can come out of the wood work any time and crash on your parade, even if your name is Madonna. So none of this is straight forward. Hugh Jackman likes to project this image of himself as this perfect family man who just cares soooo much about the orphans of the world!! If he did, he would not have insisted on adopting only new borns. Furthermore there’s an underlying darkness sometimes to these affairs. A while back in the national enquirer which seems to be one of the rare gossip mags that has reliable info, they talked about how jackman’s adopted son’s bio mom had committed suicide (she had like 4 or so other kids of her own) and that what contributed to it (but wasnt responsible for it) was the fact that it was supposed to be an open adoption but that after the 1st year or so, despite repeated requests she could not get any info or contact with her son anymore. Jackman before that had spoken at length about having the bio mom stay with him and his wife while she was pregnant (which goes completely against the recommended guidelines for a successful adoption, due to obvious psychological attachment issues), and how they pretty much had adopted the mother as well. Of course we dont know what really happened, all I’m saying is often times these things are not straight forward.

  13. Kait says:

    They did adopt newborns but they adopted mixed race newborns which are incredibly hard to place. And there is no legal obligation to maintain an open adoption dubdub2000. If Jackman and his wife decided it was detrimental to the child or the family as a whole, they have every right to move forward without involving the biological parents.

    We adopted two little girls who are one and two, so not newborns but still young. And despite the desires of one of the biological fathers, we have not kept in contact because it was simply too anxiety inducing in our daughter. The days post phone calls that she spent pacing, wringing her hands, and having nightmares were not worth the involvement of a man who donated sperm.

    Adoption is NEVER clean cut but it is the benefit of bringing children who have no one willing to raise them as family together with adults who want children to raise. Regardless of where his kids came from or the situation surrounding it, they are now with dedicated parents who appear to love them dearly. In the end, isn’t that what’s important?

  14. czarina says:

    dubdub2000: I see your point, that if a couple (celeb or otherwise) wishes to adopt a newborn rather than an older child, it is much, much more difficult.
    This does not, however, undermine Jackman’s criticism of the system that makes it very difficult to adopt children (newborn or not) from countries where there are so many children desperate for the most basic of life necessities–which adoptive parents don’t have to be rich or famous to provide.
    If the bio mother of Oscar killed herself, that would lead me to conclude she very likely had mental and/or emotional problems which, consequently, are very likely why the Jackmans felt it was better for her to not be in contact with their son. It is the child’s well being that must always come first, not the biological (or adoptive) parents feelings.

  15. M says:

    Yeah the adoption system in Australia is truly terrible. I have some friends that are very financially stable (and even got married to help the adoption process) they aren’t able to have kids naturally and they’ve only just had their adoption application approved after waiting 8 years. Not to mention it costs thousands of dollars to adopt in Australia.
    Many find the wait and the money just too much.

  16. Ned says:

    He is a nice guy, but ignoring how adoptions from Asia and Africa is creating an industry out of these adoptions, which results in human trafficking.

    When poverty meets such a marker, you encourage people to kidnap children, and corrupt systems that make a fortune out of that.

    If you want to help Asina and African societies, help the biological parents raise their own children, and help them use protection so there won’t be unplanned pregnancies.

    Don’t take away their babies from their countries and cultures.

    That said, I can’t understand how they can overlook the children who are left in the system in their own country.

    What about an Australian boy? Why do you ignore him and choose a complete different country to take away their children?

  17. XiuFetish says:

    I’m an Australian who recently adopted a child from China. In Australia, you can only adopt through state government departments. It was made clear to me by the relevant government department at the outset of my adoption journey that there are very few children eligible for adoption within Australia and almost all of them are adopted by family members (which is the best option).

    So, I happily applied to China and waited four-and-a-half years for my gorgeous daughter. The government certainly made it very difficult for many of my fellow adoptive parents. State governments tend to treat overseas adoption as nothing more than an administrative burden (even though parents must, on average, spend $30,000 to complete an adoption, so the governments are well-remunerated for the admin they undertake). And woe betide anyone who has the temerity to question or complain about the process, as one of my fellow adoptive parents did… His and his wife’s file was “lost” for some considerable period of time. The agencies hold the future of your family in their hands and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Hugh Jackman regarding the tragedy of the millions of orphans throughout the world precluded from experiencing a happy, secure family life due to the excessively restrictive adoption policies of first-world governments.

  18. sketches says:

    where i live in Canada, to adopt a child under the age of 3 requires a SEVEN YEAR WAIT until they will process my application (i.e. even begin to do the home study to approve us), and then god knows how long before there is a child available. THAT’S why people adopt from overseas.

  19. dubdub2000 says:

    @czarina: fair point, if she was unstable it would not be safe for the child. What kind of shocked me was the attitude: “oh, you are so wonderful, let us take you in and look after you” when we need something from you, i.e. you bio child and then pretty much as soon as that is done “get lost!”. Anyways that’s the way it came across but who knows what the real deal is, gossip mags do like to put twists on such things.

    See, I didn’t know that at all. I would have thought that to close off the adoption you’d have to go through courts or lawyers. Well at least that’s one good thing: if the bio parent is being a negative influence you can just shut him or her down without legal ranglings.
    And I see what you mean, it must indeed be really confusing ina lot of instances for the child to have an open adoption. Then again when the adoption is closed you never know if the child will grow up desperatly wanting to know about his or her roots or not. It puzzles me how some people really NEED to know “where they came from” whereas others couldn’t care less. From what I’ve seen sometimes it’s the way they were brought up but other times it just seems to be part of their make up.
    Anyways, we all try our best, don’t we.

  20. Francina says:

    Hi, Iam from India.I remember what actor Hugh Jackman said in an interview about getting those flashes of his children jumping on the road and a car coming fast that way which makes him worry about them when he is not around. It’s purely a paternal instinct. Being a father has nothing to do with anything biological. It’s about the feeling.
    I personally feel that the restrictions should ensure that children are going to live with people who can give a better life for them and a real ‘HOME’ to live. The restrictions must not discourage adoption in any manner.

  21. sahil says:

    I wanna to be adopted by a celebrity or some rich parents . I am 19 years boy from India.

  22. sahil says:

    I wanna to be adopted by a celebrity or some rich parents . I am 19 years boy from India.
    My Email ID is

  23. Nathalie Bruno says:

    Nice people and what he said about being a citizen of the world being personally responsible for the orphans of the world struck home. Well said

  24. boxon says:

    You all seem to not realize that adoption is just a socially acceptable form of slavery. Rich western cultures seem to think that because their citizens are economically better off then they are more entitled to bea parent. Adoptive parents have very rarely faced up to their infertility and try to use someone else’s child as a cure for it. Adopting a child is not the same as having your own , thus the child has an impossible job description. Australia should be commended for their strict adoption regulation, if the uk had such laws 33 years ago i would not have been snatched from my mother by social services and given to a completely inappropriate family in which i grew up feeling like an alien.